Alex Yuill and Kassidy Nauboris of the men’s and women’s hockey teams were the big winners at the Ontario Tech Ridgebacks annual athletic banquet.
Yuill was named male athlete of the year and also took home his team’s MVP award.
Nabouris received the female athlete of the year award, her team’s MVP award and the James-Baun Cup, awarded to the athlete who shows commitment, dedication, perseverance, academic responsibility and leadership. She also won the NuStadia Recreational Award, given to a student-athlete who has contributed to outreach programs, community service or grassroots sport development.
The awards were handed out at Regent Theatre last Thursday night. Student-athletes who participated in the 2018-2019 season represented their team one final time.
Yuill was the leader for the Ridgebacks all season and played for team Canada at the 2019 FISU Winter Universiade in Russia. The Canadian side took home the bronze medal.
Curtis Hodgins, the men’s hockey coach, was complimentary of the hard work Yuill showed all year.
“Off the ice, Alex is extremely humble and as low maintenance a player as we have. He just comes to the rink every day ready to practice and play hard, and is a great leader by example,” said Hodgins. “Our entire hockey program is absolutely thrilled to see Alex recognized with a prestigious award such as the male athlete of the year, he is fully deserving of this accolade.”
Nabouris is coming off a strong final season, in which she led the OUA with 17 assists and was second with 15 goals for 32 points. Nauboris also represented team Canada at the FISU Winter Universiade in Russia. The Canadian team won a silver medal.
The banquet also celebrates the individuals who are graduating, but a first-year athlete from Anchorage, Alaska stood out as the future of the Ontario Tech Ridgebacks.
Michael Bullion of the men’s hockey team won the rookie of the year and the male freshman athlete of the year awards after a successful season. After four seasons in the Western Hockey League, playing for both the Portland Winterhawks and Medicine Hat Tigers, Bullion made the move to Ontario Tech and said it felt good to come play for an organization that wanted him.
“It was really nice coming here and having Curtis Hodgins tell me that I’m wanted and I’m going to help build a future for this school,” he said.
Bullion put up solid numbers in his first season with the Ridgebacks. He led the team to a 10-5 record when he started in net and also held a 2.15 goals against average and a .927 save percentage, both of which were good enough for second and third best respectively in the OUA.
The netminder praised his teammates for everything he was able to accomplish in his first season with the Ridgebacks.
“It was really special to win an award and kind of see all the hard work everyone put in,” he said. “I know I was given credit for it but I don’t think I could’ve done anything without my entire team.”
Fifth-year graduate Bradley Semenick of the men’s rowing team was a multiple award winner, receiving the men’s rowing leadership, the Dr. Polonsky Leadership Award and the NuStadia Recreational Award.
A special moment from the night came when Sam Keane, the assistant equipment manager of the women’s hockey team, was given a standing ovation after being announced as the recipient of the newly-introduced Sase Narayan Unsung Hero award. Keane was recognized as a student who has positively influenced a team from behind the scenes with a positive attitude, a willingness to help in whatever capacity necessary and a commitment to excellence.